Ranking Homeowners Insurance Companies – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

How does your homeowners insurance company rank? The one time you don't want to find out they rate at the bottom of the list is when its time to file a claim. Insurance companies are good at taking your premium payment every month, but when it comes to paying out claims some companies rate better than others.

Most of us never think about our homeowners insurance until its time to file a claim. In fact, we can go years of just sending in our premium payments and never even so much as calling up our agent to say hello. Then comes the day when you need to file a claim and you find out that red tape and bureaucracy are the name of the game. Recently this situation played out all too well during Hurricane Katrina where certain homeowners insurance companies fought tooth and nail to keep from paying out claims to victims of this devastating event.

Thankfully there are a number of ways you can find out just how good your insurance company is and if they can do more than just issue a quote without a fight. A number of online and offline resources track insurance company ratings and custom satisfaction scores to help you be a more well-informed consumer.

AM Best (www.ambest.com) is one such source that provides information about the financial health of your homeowners insurance company. They track the ability of insurers to pay for losses in the event of a major disaster. Their rankings are the industry standard for measuring the financial well-being of all property, casualty and life insurance companies.

When it comes to actual consumer satisfaction ratings the data isn't as well-kept as the financial ratings. A number of websites offer consumer feedback on insurance companies as well as reports from policy holders on general insurance company handling of routine inquires. The best source of insurance company satisfaction ratings may come from others in your community who often have first-hand experience with many of the local homeowners insurance companies in your area.

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Understanding Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Homeowners insurance is a policy that protects homeowners from financial liability resulting from damage caused to or on their property. There are several types of insurance policies with different options that protect owners from risk.

Insurance policies cover many risks such as: (1) lightning, (2) theft, (3) vandalism, and (4) falling objects in storms. Other potential issues such as: (1) explosions, (2) civil unrest, (3) falling objects, (3) vehicles, (4) smoke damage, (5) weight of ice snow or sleet, (6) freezing, ( 7) heating and air-conditioning (8) fire protection systems, (9) appliances, (10) fences, and (11) other dwellings, may be covered under your insurance policy. Standard insurance policies also cover damage from snow and damage to electrical and plumbing systems. Most insurance policies provide a $ 100,000 per person / $ 300,000 total per incident liability coverage. There are some surprising items covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy which include other household members' property, such as a children (s) property. For instance, if you have a child in college who lives on campus their personal possessions would be covered under their parent (s) 'insurance policy.

There are three different levels of homeowners insurance that can be purchased. The different levels of insurance include: (1) on actual cash value, (2) replacement costs, and (3) guaranteed replacement costs. The actual cash value coverage provides owners with payments to replace homes or covered belongings at their current depreciated value. Whereas, replacement coverage pays for the cost of fixing or replacing possessions, and guaranteed replacement coverage pays for the complete rebuilding of the house (no matter the cost). There is also extended coverage which pays for up to a percentage of the policies covered limit.

The benefits of purchasing homeowners insurance include transferring financial risk from the homeowner to the insurance company. Homeowners insurance will also pay the medical expenses of third parties who are injured on your property. Homeowners insurance can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce the cost. The first and easiest way to reduce your annual expense is to increase your deductible; You can also reduce the annual cost of your insurance by installing a security system. It should also be noted that non-smokers on average pay less for homeowners insurance than smokers.

There are many things that standard insurance policies do not cover; These include damage caused by floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Although, these uncovered risks could be covered under a different insurance policy. Also, it is highly suggested for homeowners to add sewer backup as a protection endorsement. This endorsement is relatively inexpensive and would cover sewer backup into a home which would cover damage to floors, walls, furniture, and electrical systems. In addition to homeowners insurance covering your dwelling, it also covers other buildings on the property, landscaping, damage or loss to your personal property, and belongings. Your policy should also cover any temporary living expenses you may have if you or your home is damaged, in addition to covering anyone else injured on your …

Your Homeowners Insurance May Not Cover Woodpecker Damage

Meet Amy, City Girl that became a small town resident upon her marriage to George. The stark difference between living in the very center of urbanized civilization and township dwelling was somewhat of an adjustment for Amy. Sure she loved the sights and sounds of nature exposed: the lake, the trees, grass, flowers and the vibrant color of winged birds. Nonetheless, how she missed the hustle and bustle and – yes – even the noise of what she had always recognized as the center of commercial shopping, auto and bus traffic – honking included – and life as she had been bred to appreciate!

Though noise has always been the core of her existence, the incessant pecking on the side of her roof in small town America where she currently had set up residence did absolutely no good for her nerves. Five o'clock in the morning, you see was far too early for a woman of the world such as she to be rudely awoken from her slumbering state. And the fact that the pecking was coming from a fine feathered 'friend' known most commonly as the woodpecker did little to placate her uneasiness.

Then came the crunch that really threw Amy off. It appeared as the bothersome woodpecker had begun to incur damage on her lovely home! But nothing could appease Amy when she discovered that her standard homeowners insurance policy did not even cover the damages and losses she now suffered!

"You see, Ma'am," explained the nice insurance agent, "insurance companies simply do not cover general home liability that has been wrought through negligence. In fact, they view woodpecker damage as something that could have been avoided through proper home maintenance . "

If only Amy had known! She most certainly would have confronted the little peril with a vengeance. Now it appeared that it was too late and she and her husband would have to bear the losses through out of the pocket expenditures.

They say life is a great teacher. Amy knows better than most.

"Learn from me," says Amy, former city dweller. "Don't let pests get the better of you or your home risks will!"

How does one tackle a woodpecker problem? There are a number of hands-on methods:

• Go out and purchase a tool that's on the market in regard to woodpecker deterrence.

• Surround outside home spots that connect to the roof with wired fencing.

• Attach colorful tape below roof and around the roof's gutters.

• Seal attic holes and house siding with caulk or other materials.

• Hire a pest eliminating firm to take care of the problem.

• Explore your own creative to tackle the nasty wood-pecking problem.

Ask Amy. She'll tell you forearmed is indeed forewarned: speak to an independent insurance agent about your homeowners insurance policy to make sure it is tailored to your needs.

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Best Homeowners Insurance Companies: What Perks and Benefits Do They Offer?

There are so many good things about owning a home: you can fix it up and sell it for profit, rent it out to someone else to earn income, or simply live in it yourself and never have to worry about rent. The downside is that there is insurance to consider. There is a variety of coverage options depending on where you live and what kind of house you own. What is it that the best homeowners insurance companies offer?

When shopping around for house insurance quotes, you need to know exactly what needs to be insured and what is included in the policy.

Some of the things you might need insurance for include:

• Protection for the dwelling itself, as well as any other buildings on the property like a storage shed or detached garage.

• Protection for the contents INSIDE the dwellings, like electronics, jewelry, furniture, appliances, etc …

• Protection from any possible hazard that can cause harm to your property and contents, such as fire, flooding, hurricane, mudslides, and so forth.

• Liability insurance in the event that someone gets injured on your property.

If you live in an area that is prone to hazardous weather, it might be a good idea to get insurance to cover additional living expenses should you have to move out and stay some place else while damages are getting repaired.

The best homeowners insurance companies will allow you to view a summary of your coverage and even provide you with a sample of a policy when you sign up, before making your final decision. You should be given the opportunity to edit your coverage and policy settings such as the start date and deductible.

Canceling Your Policy at the Best Homeowners Insurance Companies

You should also be able to cancel your policy at any time. Some companies will even issue you a refund for the remaining period you have paid for.

While some homeowners are inadequately insured, other homeowners make the mistake of paying for more coverage than they actually need. Make sure you get just the right amount of coverage you need by going through a policy section by section to determine whether each type of coverage adequately protects your investment. There is such a thing as "OVER-protecting".

What about other people who live on you property? If it's a roommate or tenant, you will need a different type of policy. If it's blood relatives, however, then the best homeowners insurance policy will automatically cover all of the residents in the household who are related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption.

You can learn more about house insurance by looking into services by Lemonade. It's definitely among the best homeowners insurance companies . Lemonade has a unique "Giveback" policy to its clients, which is one of the many perks of choosing this company for your homeowners insurance.

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Challenges Of Homeowner’s Insurance and Dogs

Dogs are a very important part of most modern day families. They can be considered children in several households. There are even day spas for dogs now. There’s no question that owning a dog is the standard. However, many people fail to realize that their homeowner insurance policies can be affected by owning a dog. Yes, that beautiful animal that cherish so dearly can also cost you more than just dog food and leashes. Did you know that the specific breed of a dog can cause increased rates or complete coverage denial on your homeowners policy?

Pit bulls, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Chows, Great Danes, Akitas, Siberian Huskies and Wolf Hybrids are just a few of the dog breeds that may cause insurance companies to increase rates, deny coverage, or exclude from policies. Even just a mix of these breeds can often times be a problem for your insurance company. The risks are typically determined by the breeds reputation, the frequency of dog bites by that specific breed, and whether the dog is large and capable of causing damage.

If your insurance company decides to exclude your pet from your policy or penalize you with a steep increase in your premiums, there are several options to consider. By just doing a little research, you can pointed in the direction of an insurance company willing to give your pet a chance. Call your local humane society or contact your state insurance commissioner for a list of dog friendly insurers. You can also consider an umbrella policy that can cover what your insurance company refuses to. This is a simple and fast route. One additional option is to call a specialized dog liability insurance company. This is especially helpful if your animal has a history of bad behavior. They can write policies to cover your pet that other companies are not willing to do.

Please do not be discouraged from owning any of these breeds. All animals deserve loving homes. Sometimes the breeds that most are afraid of turn out to be the best pets. Just be sure to call your insurance agent and get all of the details. Make sure to review your policy closely as some companies try to exclude dog bite claims or severely limit claim amounts. Ask if there are any ways to make your pet insurable? A dog obedience class can make all the difference or get you the break you deserve.

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Homeowners Insurance Policy Quote Guide: What You Need to Know About Standard Coverage and Add-Ons

While you might not necessarily “legally” have to have home insurance, there is really no good reason NOT to have at least some type of coverage. After all, for the average person, their home is the most important asset – even more so than any vehicle. Even if you’ve already paid off your mortgage, it’s still in your best interest to search for the ideal homeowners insurance policy quote.

The basic components include coverage for the home and structures (electrical wiring, heating, plumbing fixtures, external fixtures, and so forth) as well as contents (furniture, electronics, clothes, plants, etc… ) What is it all protected from? This varies from policy to policy. However, it typically protects from common threats such as fire, theft, and water damage. There are certain regional threats that might require coverage, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, heavy snow, or tornadoes.

Since even small streams could potentially become ranging rivers if there is enough rain and melted snow, flood insurance is quite common in most areas as well.

The most effective way of doing research and finding home insurance is by going online and comparing quotes. Find out if you are eligible for any discounts and read reviews on various companies. Before selecting any specific homeowners’ insurance policy quote, make sure it to read everything carefully. You should know exactly what it covers and what it does not cover.

What Should Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Quote Include

Just like any other type of insurance, it’s not a good idea to select a particular quote just because the payments are low. What about the deductibles? How much will it actually cost to make particular repairs to your home? Or replace valuables? What if you lose your entire house and have to have it rebuilt? Even if the chances of your house being utterly destroyed are low, that doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. Ask anybody who has ever suddenly become homeless overnight due to a flood, fire, or tornado.

Speaking of homelessness, some home insurance policies will cover the costs of staying for somewhere else temporarily, such as a hotel room, in the event that your home is damaged and has to be remodeled.

There are some standard homeowners policies that cover the homeowners whenever they are facing lawsuits related to any damage or bodily injured caused by you, other inhabitants of your property, or your pets.

Weigh in on the both the market value and actual cash value of your home, property, and contents when looking for a homeowners insurance policy quote. Always begin your search with Lemonade Insurance if you live in one of the states in which it is available. Lemonade is known for its transparent policies, affordable insurance, and fast claims processing.

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Homeowners Insurance Options – What is Good Neighbor Property Damage?

There is a certain type of coverage option that is often included in a standard homeowners insurance policy that many people are not aware of. It is called the good neighbor property damage coverage. For people who have it, and many do, it will provide you terrific protection for damage caused to your neighbors home that you would be considered liable for.

How does it work? Simple. Coverage is provided for damage caused to a neighbors home by you cutting down a tree and having it smash in their fence. Or, coverage is provided if your kids are playing ball in the front yard and a ball goes through a neighbors window. Surprisingly, coverage is provided even if your neighbor can prove that your kids did damage to their home intentionally.

Damage caused to your neighbors house by pets is also covered with this good neighbor property coverage. If your dog chews a hole in their fence or gets into your neighbors home and destroys their carpet or furniture, you are covered.

The amount of coverage provided varies from insurance company to insurance company but most coverage limits are between one thousand dollars and two thousand dollars. The best part about it is there is no deductible that needs to be paid when making a claim. Simply contact your insurance company and explain what happened. Sometimes you will have to come out of pocket to repair the damage, then wait for reimbursement. Other times, the check will be sent out immediately once the damage to your neighbor’s home is assessed.

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Does My Auto or Homeowners Insurance Police Cover Mailbox Damage?

Since 2013, the United States Postal Service has furthered a move that will save the agency billions of dollars. By requiring owners of newly constructed homes to use curbside mailboxes like those used by millions of other homeowners and renters, associated costs will be cut significantly.

Though the change favors cost-cutting efforts, it does involve a degree of inconvenience for those used to the traditional delivery at the door front. That downside, however, does not compare to the real risk the newly introduced location – near the road – presents: exposure to damage from a colliding auto or other type of vehicle.

Due to the fact that mailboxes located at the side of the road are in close proximity of constant car and truck movement, there is an extremely heightened risk of them getting hit and damaged.

Can I File a Related Insurance Claim?

Should another driver hit your mailbox, be sure to ask for his phone number and address as well as his driver’s license information. Following that, make an official police report and file an insurance claim with the driver’s auto insurance. Buy another mailbox like the one you are replacing and save the sales slip so that there is cost proof for insurance recompense.

As life goes, chances are you may not be home if and when your mailbox gets damaged by another car. Then what, right?

Check your doors for contact info that may be left by a summoned police officer or the driver him or herself. You can also call the police and see if there was a police report filed about the accident. In the event you do not discover a note with pertinent contact information or anything about an associated police report, be sure to file a hit-and-run accident police report as soon as possible. If that leads you nowhere, you can still opt for a homeowners insurance claim. Be prepared for either a flat out denial or a denial based on not meeting deductible requisites, though.

In the event your mailbox retained damage due to vandalism, you can do either of the following:

• Make a police report so that you will get repaid by the vandal when apprehended as part of a court decision.

• You can also see if your homeowners insurance policy will cover you for an act of vandalism of this sort. Consult with your independent insurance agency for a professional take on the matter.

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